Lincolnshire Council appear to be producing a masterclass in how not to introduce cuts to a library service.  First, they announced a raft of closures as close as possible as they could away with to minimum provision while presenting no options other than closure or unpaid labour. Then the consultation itself appears somewhat skewed and has been called “a complete joke” by campaigners and five famous authors. Then some consultations for the libraries were arranged in places more than ten miles away from the threatened libraries themselves … and now we have the news that the “consultation” meetings themselves are little more than sessions being held on how users can volunteer in their libraries, complete with a facilitator from the University of Sheffield to help them to do it.  Why this matters is that there is a legal requirement for a genuine consultation before changes are made to a library service.  Even the supine Ed Vaizey repeatedly has mentioned the need for one as a sign that a council is complying with legislation.  Given what has been seen so far, Lincolnshire are sailing especially close to the wind in meeting it.

On the other hand, a councillor has appeared on ITV to say he can foresee the possibility of more “libraries” at the end of the process than at the beginning, due to the semi-forced use of volunteers, while saving £2 million for the Council. If the consultation stands and the cuts go through, that’s the sort of result that other councils will take notice of, much to the detriment of public libraries nationwide. Whether they get away with it or are called in for judicial review remains to be seen. It’s the sort of thing that in another era would have had the attention of the Libraries Minister but the current one, Ed Vaizey, will doubtless continue his policy of inaction, seeing how things play out on the ground and leaving it to cash-strapped locals to do what he has consistently not done himself. It’s worth noting that some CILIP members are not entirely happy with Ed for his past record on the subject and have set up a website to encourage a vote of no confidence in him at that organisation’s AGM. Of course, he may not listen to them as well but there comes a time when one has to make a stand on something … and the terminal decline of the local public library presided over by uninterested politicians seems to be as good a place as any to start.




  • Birmingham’s new library; Naturally 7; killer whale film Blackfish – Radio 4 / Front Row (around 10 minutes in, after item on killer whale).  Conversation with director of library and Jonathan Coe (writer of Rotters Club),  Includes a Victorian library room physically transported from old building plus cafe and archive.  Will become biggest library in Europe with a forecast “with a fair degree of confidence” of 10,000 visits per day.  Budget almost entirely paid for by council. ery positive review.
  • ‘Frictionless’ ebook lending from public libraries – Shelf Free.  Ken Chad looks at proposals for e-lending and looks at what the terms mean/imply inc. patron driven acquisition, national service and payment to publishers/authors.
  • How to avoid crazy people in the library – Brooklyst (USA). Handy tips: like stay out of the toilets.
  • Is that gross breadsticks or net breadsticks? – Question Everything. “The great line of Cicero that politicians are not born, they are excreted was surely meant for Ed and his conduct over libraries. I take my hat off to Jo Richardson and Tom Roper for putting forward the no confidence vote in Vaizey, they have stepped up and shown great courage and integrity in putting this motion and I hope all their colleagues can back them to the hilt, it would be very wrong to lobby on the side of Vaizey”
  • “Library dystopian” type- blogs – Genebrarian’s outreach (New Zealand).  Argues that it is lack of funding in UK etc, not change, that is causing decline in UK usage and in other areas and that councils are then using this vicious cycle to close libraries.
  • National Library of Wales fire: Company working on roof in liquidation – BBC. “The company which unintentionally started a £5m blaze at the National Library of Wales, Aberystwyth, has gone into liquidation.” Due to £4m bill being given them by the Library – company says that NLW should have insured themselves. Library now discussing monies with liquidators.
  • Nobel laureate Suu Kyi launches Myanmar’s first mobile library – Hindu Business Line (Myanmar). “Opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi launched Myanmar’s first mobile library Saturday to highlight her policy of spreading education in the country. “Now, it’s only a bus with a room, but if our people use it correctly it may be great benefit for our country,” Suu Kyi said “

Local news

  • Barnsley – Council ‘will not close any libraries’ – Barnsley Chronicle. “Barnsley Council says it is not intending to close any libraries following a consultation on making the service more efficient. However, the council stresses it faces ‘difficult’ savings targets and will have to regularly review services.” but “Neighbourhood libraries in Darfield, Dodworth, Grimethorpe, Monk Bretton, Thurnscoe and Worsbrough would be ‘more likely to be run by partner organisations or developed into different bodies with local people.'”,  10 libraries to have hours cut, 2 increased.
  • Bradford – MP Philip Davies visits reprieved Wilsden library – Telegraph and Argus. “The joy of books and reading is alive and well in Wilsden where the community library run by volunteers is thriving 15 months after surviving the threat of closure. And Shipley MP Philip Davies showed his continuing support for keeping libraries in his constituency by visiting it.”
  • Bristol – Petition: Retain Bristol Central Library – Bristol Council. “We, the undersigned, call on Bristol City Council to register our concern and opposition to the proposed conversion of two lower ground floors (not open to the public and currently used for reserve stock / offices) to accommodate a new primary school. Furthermore, we wish to record our disappointment that the Council has chosen to simply ignore the positive recommendations made over six years ago by the Libraries Select Committee, which specifically called upon the Council to recognise the unique role of Bristol’s Central Library”. 190 signatures so far.
  • Bristol – Will we ruin library for sake of 30 private school places? – Post.  Council plans to move Cathedral School into Bristol Central Library criticised for being inconsistent with the actuality – space is well used by library and takeover by private school will have detrimental impact on users.  Council claims examined, and demolished, in detail.
  • Cambridgeshire – Community room to open at library – Cambridge News. “The Cherry Hinton branch will be shut between Monday and Thursday to allow for the creation of a new community room which will allow for more events and events to be hosted. It is hoped community groups will use the space for their meetings. The project is costing £14,000, with the bill being shared between Cambridge City Council and Cambridgeshire County Council.”
  • Camden – Award-winning novelist Zadie Smith defends Camden’s libraries at Swiss Cottage talk – Ham and High. “Ms Smith read a short passage from NW – which explores the lives of four friends in north-west London – to a captive audience at Swiss Cottage Library before opening up about her school years at Hampstead School, Cricklewood, life in the US, and her love of libraries.”

“When you have money, you don’t realise the importance of places where you don’t have to buy anything,” she said. “Apart from churches and mosques, there is nowhere else to go.” Zadie Smith

I am very pleased that we have been given permission to appeal by the Court of Appeal. I am only sad that the Mayor has ignored local protests and failed to resource the libraries in the way the Council intended.” Carol Buck

The democratic mandate of the Mayor does not extend to trampling the democratic mandate of the full Council when it has specifically provided for the funding of highly valued services such as Doncaster’s libraries” Public Interest Lawyers

  • Hertfordshire – Time capsule marks community milestone – Hertfordshire Council. Borehamwood: “The new multi-purpose building, which is due to open in the autumn, will showcase a library, youth services area, museum and community rooms and contribute to the regeneration of the Elstree Way corridor area of Borehamwood. The project is a partnership between Hertfordshire County Council, Hertsmere Borough Council,  Elstree and Borehamwood Town Council and All Saints Church which is next door to the new development.”
  • Lincolnshire – Protestors wanted public hanging claim – Guardian series. “A consultation held in Spalding to discuss the future of the district’s library service turned into a “public hanging”.  Protestors waved ‘Save Deepings Library’ banners outside and continued to disrupt the start of the meeting, with claims the document outlining criteria used to identify libraries threatened with closure is “littered with inaccuracies”. They said the 2001 census used to identify libraries under threat did not reflect growth in the area – and the meeting was nothing more than a seminar to discuss how they could volunteer to run their facilities.”
  • Lincolnshire – Consultation into library closures to be held in Skegness – Skegness Standard. “Campaigners have urged residents to attend the meeting and oppose the changes as if it was ‘the closure of their cottage hospital’.” … “Mr Hussey and five of the UK’s best selling authors -Ian Rankin, Michael Morpurgo, Neil Gaiman, the children’s laureate Mallory Black and Val McDermid- have lent their support to the Save Lincolnshire Libraries campaign, branding the process a ‘complete joke’.”
  • Lincolnshire – Row over library closures – ITV. 2 minutes video. Protestors not happy.  Councillor says 21 out of 30 threatened libraries have interest in working unpaid to keep them open and thinks there may be more libraries at the end of the process than at the beginning with £2 million saved for the council.
  • Rochdale – Libraries are spared axe: but they must offer more – Manchester Evening News. “Rochdale council bosses are expected to back a ‘no-closure’ policy next week, pledging none of the borough’s 17 branches will be shut down. But libraries will be expected to widen the range of services they offer and become ‘integrated community hubs’.” … “while the number of people using libraries had ‘increased significantly’ since 2008, those going to borrow books had ‘fallen significantly’. The surge in numbers is down to people using libraries to access the internet, get advice and take part in activities.”

“local libraries have became the face of the council in many areas and it needs to reflect that in the types of services it offers.”

  • Sheffield – Steve Ayris loves Ikea: hates libraries – Star / Letter. ” I do not think any of us need lectures from Steve Ayris overbusiness sense or libraries. This is the same Steve Ayris who tried to close Hillsborough Library in 2010 and then seemed hurt when we in Hillsborough got rid of him in 2011. This is the same Lib Dem Steve Aryis who failed to get elected in 2012 whilst standing for Beauchief and Greenhill as the voters deserted him and his Dodo party. It would now appear that Steve Ayris is trying to get his claws into Graves Park.”
  • Stoke on Trent – Trentham Library – Geocaching. “A geocache hidden at Trentham Library, Stoke-on-Trent. We hope you enjoy finding our cache and seeing what Stoke-on-Trent Libraries have to offer! You don’t need the library to be open when you come to find this cache. The geocache is small clip box with a log book and a few items to swap inside. To find out more about Stoke-on-Trent Libraries you can visit our website at www.stoke.gov.uk/libraries”
  • Wolverhampton – Work to start soon on new Wolverhampton library hubs – Express and Star. Community centres and libraries to merge, “Seven hubs are being introduced in Wolverhampton in the first phase of the scheme, which it was first envisaged would cost £3.3 million. But costs have since swollen to £4.1m after chiefs identified extra repairs were needed. The move will save £1m a year in utilities bills for buildings which have since closed and in staff costs.”

“When plans were first unveiled they sparked controversy from critics who said they would ‘rip the hearts out of communities’ as library buildings closed. Council chiefs however said the project provided a guarantee no library services would be lost across the city, in stark contrast to other councils across the country.”

  • Worcestershire – Find out about plans for Broadway Library – Cotswold Journal. “People can drop in any time to view the feedback results and discuss future plans with officers and anybody who is prepared to volunteer in the library are welcome. The option to set up a constituted Charitable Community Group to take on the running of the library building and for volunteers to support staff in the library is the County Council, Parish Council and Local Member’s preferred option. Worcestershire County Councillor for Broadway, Liz Eyre, is encouraging as many people to come along as possible and hear how the library service in Broadway can be maintained and developed in the future. There are no plans to close Broadway Library, but the council needs to find a solution to reduce costs.”
  • Worcestershire – Bewdley Library could be moved to health centre – Kidderminster Shuttle. “library could be moved into the town’s proposed health centre and pharmacy development. Worcestershire County Council will launch a 12-week public consultation on the proposal, which would see the library, currently based in Load Street, become part of Bewdley Medical Centre’s planned move to the Dog Lane carpark site.”